September 22, 2022

For a while I've been wrestling with a paradox of dissatisfaction: Buddhism and other philosophies (Stoicism, Epicureanism) tell us that it's a fool's game to make our happiness contingent on the world being different than it is... but it seems like that's a critical way to get energy to change the world for the better. (George Bernard Shaw: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.")

But the other day I posted a meme that started "Be a Kermit the Frog. Have a creative vision and no ego [...]" That seems like beautiful advice - but it seems like ego is another important driver? Much like it's easy to predict docile passivity if one were to consistently just accept the world as it is, it seems like without pride there would be fewer reasons for high standards. Ego is a hell of a stumbling block - stops me from taking risks that might damage it - but it also encourages me to do excellent things.

I worry I'm a little too ego-driven; you could see a lot of what I do, from art projects to romances, having inspiration that's a mix of "this pleases me" and "this impresses others". But I think my lived philosophy of truth as being an emergent property of groups (rather than a subjective thing known by individuals) means that my ego is tied into trying to see if what I'm doing is any good according to other people, since I don't trust - or even value - my own judgement.

September 22, 2021

The fact that corn, poatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and chocolate weren't encountered by Europeans until less than 400 years ago is astonishing.

Like white folks became so dependant on the hundreds of years of labor that Native Americans put into domesticating these crops and now they're so removed culturally from their origins that they've become inherant parts of white culture.

When you think of tomatoes do you think of Mexican, or Italian food? When you think of potatoes can you picture the Quechua or Ireland and the UK, Russia, France maybe? Does chocolate make you think of Belgian and Swiss truffles, or Olmec cacao?

Pumpkin may be the oldest domesticated plant but it doesn't evoke images of the ancient Native peoples of the southern US. It's white girls with pumpkin spice lattes and white mom's pumpkin pie.

I don't really know where I'm going with this but it makes me feel things

September 22, 2020

then a miracle occurs/ I think you should be more explicit here in step two

September 22, 2019

Life is a journey to nowhere. If you want a change of scenery, you have to find your own way there.
King in "One Punch Man"

September 22, 2018

Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.
Jean Paul Sartre

Played with the Tufts Pep Band (Football team took a lead in the first half and manage to hang on, hooray our side!) - biggest difference from the 90s? Besides, you know, Tufts apparently admitting babies, and everyone having a smartphone - apparently, at some point folks started sometimes calling the team "The 'Bos" (short of course for Jumbos.)

September 22, 2017

Shot from JP Honk @ Mill City Grows:

With my new commute I was so very little reading in, but lots of podcasts. Guess it's time to switch gears and use Audiobooks. I guess Audible is an ok deal - it's like a "book of the month" club except you choose the book, so long as I listen to at least one I guess it's a good deal.

September 22, 2016

"Sunspots were examined in detail by telescope in the early 1600s, after some 200 years of repeated viewing by unaided eyes in Athens, China, Japan, and Russia. It was difficult for Europeans to see sunspots at all because Aristotle had said that celestial bodies were perfect and without blemish, a fancy which became official church doctrine in the middle ages."
Edward Tufte, from "Envisioning Information"
Luckily then came Galileo. This is why doctrine is kind of terrible. Any source of information and guidance needs to have a corrective mechanism.

September 22, 2015

Suddenly, the word "symbols" is the oddest English word I've ever seen in my life.

September 22, 2014

Back to "Lazy Iced Tea" (just throwing a teabag or two into the Large Dunkies Iced Coffee cup I use for water during the day.) Work offers unlimited soft drinks, but those recent study results are making feel iffy about how artificial sweetener might be fooling my gut bacteria.

Plus, chai iced tea is super tasty washing over an atomic fireball.

September 22, 2013

"My list of incomplete projects is my own personal crazy hoard."
--drawing a parallel between hoarders and people with a burgeoning list of Projects "Todo, Someday, Maybe". It's not perfect, but a richer parallel than it might seem at first glance.

September 22, 2012

study in black cat and white ikea daybed

super mbta world

September 22, 2011

click for fullsize

by Adam Summerville -- prints available there -- Rick Perry, aiming to turn the War on Terror into a War of Religions.
Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.
John von Neumann

facebooks plan to rule the world

September 22, 2010
--Wired's coverage of the upcoming Facebook movie mentions
And nobody in the movie brings up that insane-looking Facebook Illuminati symbol, which the flesh-and-blood Zuckerberg custom-stitched into the inside of his hoodie
I was more intrigued when I thought I had read it was stitched into the inside of the hood part... Anyway, here's the story behind it, askew-embedded-Star-of-David of all.

I think this is a little interesting but overplayed. (It makes me think about this squiggly line logo Nokia used as a placeholder when it first acquired Enpocket... I have thought on a hoodie, though not on the inside.)
DADT blocked again. Because America is safer when our Soldiers are as closeted as our Senators.

Autumn sun may come in smaller portions but it doesn't have any of the sticky aftertaste summer's does. - love this Slate/NPR translation of Fed speak into plain English - great use of simple DHTML technology!

portugal: oceanário

September 22, 2009
Photoblog of the Moment
So the day started off kind of oddly - we thought we had ordered tickets for me for a quick hop over to Madrid, but the airline didn't get the message, so after some fumbling with getting around the airpot I took a bus over to the Oriente area. Near the Metro stop I saw this brilliant tacky old-Mini Cooper... - hunting for fun/goofy leading economic indicators.

ah, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think

September 22, 2008
One fun, if navel-gazing, form of fun for geeks is thinking about thinking.

Recently I read this Derek Yu's musing on left brain/right brain. Even though it gave lip-service to balancing the two, it had a bit of a bias:
This dichotomy between the left and right sides of the brain helps answer a question I've had about why some people are drawn to fantasy, sci-fi, comics, video games, etc. (i.e. things of the imagination), and why some people aren't. A right-brained person would naturally be excited by this kind of media, since they could easily visualize themselves in the imaginative worlds they employ. For lefties, who are more logical, analytical, and grounded in reality, there is perhaps little value in 'fantasy.'
He goes on to argue that the Americian Educational system isn't well-geared for this kind of left-brained thinker. I'm less of a judger (though, ironically, I tend to judge judging) so this sounds a little whiny to me, but hey, pot kettle etc.

My own form of self-coddling academic compartmentalizing has always been "memorizing vs extrapolating" -- I have a brain that seems poor at the former, as shown up in spelling, foreign language, chemistry, but when there are fewer basic elements, and the focus is on manipulating them in interesting ways, I do well; math (up until Calculus at least), computer science, physics. I'm not sure where high school biology (where I did well despite having lots to memorize) and history (where I also did really well, at least on the APs) fit into this scheme, and they might point to it being to simple to be useful.

I was trying to think of other correlated ways of stating this split: like, Memorization is Nouns, Extrapolation is Verbs. Memorization is the Parts, Extrapolation is the Relationship between the Parts. Memorization is static, Extrapolation is fast and dynamic (and again, I think I tend to be a fast and shallow thinker rather than a methodical and deep one.)

Or better yet, try to shoe-horn this into my overarching Interesting/Not-Interesting dynamic; Extrapolation is interesting, Memorization is not. Though it's kind of odd that I'm so eager to explain what I'm good at and what I'm not by finding out what things in either category have in common, similar to the kind of justification I see Derek Yu doing.

Quote of the Moment
Exercise relieves stress. Nothing relieves exercise.
Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005
(yes, from the usual Quote of the Day thing)

Link of the Moment
I was so happy to see that Wikipedia's List of Fictional Expletives has been saved. (I hate Wikipedia's "deletion = gone without a trace" policy, and it's not new enough for Deletionpedia.) Though I thought I was remembering a science fiction-only list... plus this one would be better if it made a distinction between "implied that it's widely use in a fictional universe" (e.g. "frak" in Battlestar Galactica") and semi-clever writer one-offs ("oooh, ouch, right in the Cape Canaverals.")

It's angst not laziness that dominates my procrastination from techie work- if I'm out of a comfort zone, an urge to websurf is overwhelming
Are you kidding me? They really think they can call Yankee Stadium "the Cathedral"? Puh-leeze. Rest in Pieces, ya old beauty.
"It's worry, worry all of the time / You don't know how to laugh / They'll think of something funny / When they write your epitaph"
Nice not having to learn EVERYTHING from experience, like: "take the lanyard off your neck to use the keys, rather than ducking by the door"
Decisions by the Secretary [for the proposed bailout act] [..] may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency ??? wtf?
Working for a foreign-based company might have its pluses... coworker points out w/ the dollar, WE'RE kind of the offshore cheapish labor.
I've got "lucky" nail clippers. They're from Todai-ji in Japan! (And cut REALLY super well, and have some Kanji (I think) on the side.)

well, ANYTHING is unique if you look closely enough

(1 comment)
September 22, 2007
--Cool (but, come to think of it, not a very pleasant reminder of the end of summer) extreme zoom-in of a snowflake, via this Cellar.or Image of the Day, which has a few more shots.

see ya seattle

September 22, 2006
So I bid a fond farewell to Seattle. I think my consulting role went well, though I had to put in some brutally late nights, and it was one of those things that never feels perfectly resolved.

Got a chance to wander the city a bit more on my last evening there.

I even found a very fun little arcade at the lakefront. I think the arcade games were set at their easier settings for the most part, which I appreciated. I played Star Wars Tilogy Arcade, destroyed the Deathstar which is always enjoyable. I also played ticket games, I usually don't go for that but they had this one mallet game, sort of a virtual Whack-A-Mole but with a real mallet on a big screen.

So see ya, Seattle... I'll miss you, and how you have the Daily Show on at a decent hour. Plus my hotel had the NFL Channell... man, as much as I enjoy following the Patriots and gaving a game on in the background, 24/7 football coverage is kind of creepy.

Fortune of the Moment
"You may find if you relax that you dream a thousand new paths and awake to walk your old one."
--Excerpt from the card I got from the Arcade's mechanical fortune teller. It was a lot better than the one from the mechanical Elvis at the Pike Place magic show that started "You are nature's stepchild. You enjoy nature and thrive when you spend time outdoors." Damn, Mechanical Elvis just doesn't know me at all, does he...

by any other name

September 22, 2005
Joke of the Moment
Two older couples are out for a walk. The men are walking behind the women.
Man 1: "We ate at a great restaurant last night."
Man 2: "Oh really? Which one."
Man 1: "The name escapes me right now ... what's the name of that flower, you know, with the thorns?"
Man 2: "A rose?"
Man 1: "Yes, that's it. Rose, where did we eat last night?"

Vocabulary of the Moment
Today's "Word of the Day" was adventitious (So when anyone says "adventitious"...scream real loud!) It means "Added extrinsically; not essentially inherent". I just want to say that I think that this is a terrible word, since it feels like it just wants to be a more fey way of saying "adventurous".

I have mixed feelings about "Word of the Day". On the one hand, it's good to grow your vocabulary to increase your comprehension. On the other hand, it might be wise to avoid many of these words while writing, since your audience is that much less likely to know what you're on about.


September 22, 2004
Quote of the Moment
Famous last words? Lemme think here. All right, here we go. Ummm...Never have I waltzed to 'My Country 'Tis Of Thee,' nor met anyone who did. Still, it's a waltz, for it's written in waltz time.
Tom Waits, A.V. Club interview in "The Tenacity of the Cockroach".
Come to think of it, "Star Spangled Banner" is in waltz time as well. But "My Country 'Tis of Thee" has a beat that's kind of hard to hear--is it still a waltz? Still I think it would be a good national anthem as well...

Lamp of the Moment
Most interesting idea for a lamp I've seen for a slumps over when the room is empty, and stands and lights itself when it senses people...I don't know how well people sensor work these days though...

Ramble of the Moment
(Yesterday's rambling brought in some gratifying (and relatively unsolicited) feedback, and that made me think I should write more often. It might spruce up kisrael a bit, get away from the found-links-and-quotes grind, make it that much more personal. (Though I still think of finding and archiving good quotes as my own pseudo-spiritual "mission") I don't want to force it, but usually I have one or two themes percolating in my hindbrain over the course of a couple days, so that might make good ramble fodder.)

So, today's the first day of Autumn. Always a melancholy time for me; nature going into its annual coma, the unnerving number of relatives I've had pass away this time of year. But it's a good time to look back at the summer preceding it.

A few weeks ago, my UU church had an "end of summer" service, marking the start of its regular season. (Over the summer, attendance is way down, and the lay ministry takes over running the meetings, and so far I think I like that better than the Autumn crowds...) They have a nice tradition of asking people to bring back water that represents their summer activities, then they put all the water together in a special container (for use in ceremonies throughout the year) and read off all the descriptions people gave. There were quite a few "Arlington tapwater"s, of course, but also water from a wide variety of places, including a few "water from Hurricane Charley"s. If I had known about the tradition, maybe I would've grabbed some Lake Erie from my trip back to Cleveland, but instead I realized the right choice was...Aquafina.

CVS sells 12 packs of the stuff for three or four bucks, and for some reason I wasn't like liking (sarcastic proofreading via EB) the tapwater in my new apartment, though I was fine with the stuff back in Waltham. And so buying Aquafina has become a bit of a ritual for me, and I guess it represents my efforts to regain my balance and set up a base for my new life as much as anything.

It was the summer of Aquafina. I got my new place, got my new car, visited the old hometown, reconnected with some old friends, my mom got to move back to finally be within just-drop-in distance of her sister and of me, got my teeh whitened, even started dating a bit wasn't so bad.

Of course, there's still a lot of clutter there, emotional and otherwise, just like I haven't quite figured out the best way of getting rid of the empty bottles so they stack up a bit. Still, I have a lot to be grateful for, and even though we're entering that dark time of year, I'm pretty happy and I think that I've regained my equilibrium to a large degree.

peterman SMASH

September 22, 2003
--On yesterday's comments, bozo asked "Well, what happened in the NEXT frame" so here is the same image with the before and after frames. To my surprise the newlyweds were in the neighborhood and stopped over last night for just a bit of video game fun.

Quote of the Moment
The Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for love.
Margaret Atwood

FAQ of the Moment
Wow. Does National Hurricane Center really frequently get the question Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them? Yikes, this world must have a lot of people who are even more insane than me.

Link of the Moment
Language Removal Service takes out all the language from soundclips and leaves only the breaths and "um"s and "uh"s. Here's their take on the California Recall Election. Sounds kinda like obscene phonecalls from the mentally handicapped, which probably isn't inappropriate, considering.

pie and ice cream and milk

September 22, 2002
Today's entry will be enhanced with photos from Thursday night, when Leslee made hot apple pie and we ate it with vanilla ice cream and milk and then Peterman and I went and played darts...

Backlog Link of the Moment
Nathan's Toasty Technology page has two parts I found very interesting: beta screenshots of the game DOOM and The GUI Gallery--The Misc GUIs link has all the information on Microsoft BOB you'd ever need...(Bob is a hilariously failed "Friendly Operating System" between Win3.1 and Win95, introducing the near relatives of the infamous "Office Paperclip") Right click and click "Show Picture" if an image doesn't load.

Movie Quote of the Moment
"No, nothing I ever do is good enough. Not beautiful enough, it's not funny enough, it's not deep enough, it's not anything enough. Now, when I see a rose, that's perfect. I mean, that's perfect. I want to look up to God and say, 'How the hell did you do that? And why the hell can't I do that?'"
"Now that's probably one of your better con lines."
"Yeah, it is. But that doesn't mean I don't mean it."

Map of the Moment
An amazing map of fetishes (different versions of it are available on this page.) There are some there that even I didn't know about! It's from an interesting site about a new book. I batted just above .500 on their Kinky Quiz

People are weird. [R-Rated Links, I guess, but it's all pretty tame.] was very good pie, btw. And no, I do not have a pie fetish.

dispatch from ground zero

September 22, 2001
My mom is a Major in the Salvation Army, the church I grew up in. Although I no longer stand with them because of doctrinal differences, I support what they do. They really put their money where there mouth is when it comes to doing good works. The following is a message from Major Cheryl Miller, assistant secretary for program for the Salvation Army in NYC. (My mom was stationed in NYC from 1992-1998 or so.) I find it to be really moving.
Friday, September 14

I want to share my experience with you and I thought this way, through email, was the best way.

For the past two days, because of the tragedy in NYC on Tuesday, September 11, I have been at the Medical Examiner's building, better known as the morgue.

I went with Major Molly Shotzberger and I am now on her counseling team. It has been an experience, needless to say. We had a canteen there to serve coffee, food and whatever. But my job was to help the cops, doctors, nurses, medical examiners and who ever was involved with receiving the bodies for identification to get through the ordeal. We were there just to say, "How are you doing?" "Can I get you anything?" "Can I do anything for you?" Most of them said they were ok. They were going to make it through. Some of them wanted to talk. Talk about their feelings, their anger, their frustration. Some of them themselves lost "brothers and sisters" from their precincts and they were looking for them while they worked. On Wednesay when we first arrived at the morgue two cops came over to us and we said "What can we do for you?" "One of our members said we are here to help you." They said, "can you get us some American flags?" "We would like six flags." "Huge ones" We said, "Of course." Called Greater New York DHQ and requested the flags. They came a few hours later. We found those two same policemen who requested the flags and gave the flags to them. The one policeman's eyes started to well up with tears. We asked them what they were going to do with the flags. "Well," one officer who had tears streaming down his face said, "See those three semi trucks down the street?" "Well, those trucks have bodies of our fellow officers in them and we want to identify those trucks with the flags." They took the flags and draped them over the trucks. It was an awesome sight as we all stood there with tears now streaming down our cheeks.

During the course of the day we ran out of sandwiches. Just as the last sandwich was taken we weren't sure what we were going to do. Well, lo and behold, about 6 young people between the ages of 18 - 20 came up to one of our members at the canteen and said, "We just had to do something and we didn't know what to do. So we decided to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Can you use them?" Isn't God good?!

Other than the cops, doctors, nurses, medical examiners we were the only ones allowed to go right down where the bodies were being taken from the truck and examined. I was standing next to a cop and we were watching them take a body bag off the truck. Rather than take the bag into the protected room, they put the bag on a gurney and started to unzip the bag right there. I stood there with that cop and watched them examine the contents of the bag. I could only recognize a chared arm, the rest of the contents was beyond recognition. The cop said, "Do you see that?" I said, "Yes." I said, "Are you alright?" He said, "Yah." He said, "Are you alright?" I said, "Yah." Neither of us looking at each other during that small conversation. I turned to him and he just stood there shaking his head in unbelief. We talked for a few more minutes and then he went back to work. I touched his shoulder as he walked away to let him know I would pray for him. By Thursday the stench was unbearable. It was difficult to stand down at the place where they were taking the bodies out of the trucks. It was difficult to be standing there and trucks pulling into the area and knowing that bodies were in those trucks. The bodies were transported from Ground Zero to the morgue in a small truck. Then, once examined, they were transported to a bigger, refrigerator truck and kept there till it was full, and then taken to the Armoury where the families came to identify them.

I saw a lot of body parts in bags. Many bodies were not intact. Each part would be in its own bag. A couple of times when the bag was transported from the first truck to the gurney the sun was behind the bag and I could see through the bag and recognize what that item was. It is a picture I will never get out of my mind.

Another cop I was talking to was telling me that he was here when they brought in the Chief Fireman and Asst. Chief Fireman. They could not recognize either of the men. The cop was saying that the one on the left was naked and was charred all over his body. Unrecognizable. The one on the right was fully clothed but had no head and no arms. It was difficult for this cop to tell me this story.

On Thursday, when we were leaving the site and thinking that we were going to Ground Zero at 3:00p.m. (but couldn't because they were evacuating because they were afraid another building was going to collapse), a woman named Marilyn fell in front of the canteen. Several of us were there and helped her up. Two men standing there were doctors and they asked her if she wanted to be checked for any cuts. She said no. But she needed to sit down, so I found her a seat on a cooler and I knew she was distraught. I asked her what she was doing and if I could get her anything to eat or drink. She asked for a drink of water. I gave her a bottle of water and started to talk to her. I asked her where she was going. She said, "I have to find the crisis center. I have to talk to someone." I said, "Can you talk to me? Can I help you?" She started to tell me that she saw the whole thing. She saw the first plane hit, the second plane hit, and then witnessed the collapse of the buildings. She couldn't get the picture out of her mind. She can't sleep, can't eat and does a lot of crying. I talked to her for a few minutes, prayed with her and she said she felt so much better. Not because of me, but because I was able to tell her that there is hope; that God will see her through this. We were waiting for the van to come and pick us up, in fact it was late. I can't help but believe that God allowed that woman to trip near our canteen and made our van late so that I could have a few moments with Marilyn.

I am anxious to go down to Ground Zero. The firemen are requesting counseling so I know we are needed.

They are so many more stories I could tell you. Please share this with anyone you want.

I'm so thankful that Gary was not in the air at the time. He just got home on the Monday before from flying ontwo planes to get home. Just a week before the attack Gary and I were on the same route that one of the planes was taking from Newark Airport to San Franscisco (not the same airlines). God has been very good through all of this. Be in prayer.

Blessings, Cheryl

Man, feels like there's some kind of health conspiracy working against me...fever blisters after Mo and I cozying up with Lee, scratchy throat 1 week before the trip to Germany...and Mo has both symptoms as well.
"let 'em all go to hell except cave 76"
          --Mel Brooks as the 2000 year old man
Letting Charles read khftea... Just like I let Jen.  Is that smart?